News Releases


Multi-Agency Event Helps Parents Talk to Children About Rail Safety

Elmhurst, Ill., September 27, 2019

Every five days, a child between the ages of 0-19 dies in a train collision. Despite this startling statistic, a majority of parents admit they aren’t talking to their children about staying safe around railroad tracks. Union Pacific today joined forces with National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Member Jennifer Homendy, Safe Kids Worldwide, Metra, DuPage Railroad Safety Council, State Representative Deanne Mazzochi and the City of Elmhurst to hold a safety event at the Metra Station in Elmhurst, Illinois, designed to spark these conversations. The event is part of National Rail Safety Week.

"Our greatest wish is that we won’t lose another life in this tragic way," said Torine Creppy, president, Safe Kids Worldwide. "Working together with partners like Union Pacific, NTSB, Metra and others, we have a real opportunity to save lives by helping parents get little-known, but life-saving information they need to protect themselves and their kids."

Information booths provided parents materials and recommendations on the best ways to talk to their children. Clifford the Big Red Dog was in attendance, posing for photos and distributing free copies of his new Scholastic book, "Clifford and the Railroad Crossing."

"Our employees live and work across Chicagoland, and we want to ensure everyone goes home safe to their families at the end of the day," said Liisa Stark, assistant vice president-Public Affairs, Union Pacific. "Teaching children about rail safety should go hand-in-hand with educating them about how to look both ways before crossing the street."

Illinois is among the top three states with the greatest number of fatal and nonfatal injuries for pedestrian and vehicle-related incidents at railroad crossings. A new research report "Railroads: An Often-Overlooked Danger to Children," published by Safe Kids Worldwide, found parents generally do not rate the issue as a major safety concern for themselves or their child. Parents who live near railroad tracks are only slightly more likely to see it as a problem.

"Our commitment to safety influences everything we do," said Bruce Marcheschi, chief operating officer, Metra. "Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with messages about the importance of being safe at rail crossings and on railroad property."

Parents are encouraged to share these five tips with their children, and act as a role model:

  • Only cross the tracks at a designated railroad crossing, marked by a sign or lights and gates.
  • If lights are flashing or the gate is down at a railroad crossing, wait for the train to pass completely and the gate to go back up before crossing. It is never okay to try and beat the train.
  • Don’t be tempted to walk on or along the tracks. Trains are at least three feet wider than the tracks on either side.
  • A train can take up to a mile to stop. By the time the locomotive engineer sees someone or something on the tracks ahead, it is too late to stop.
  • If you are using a cell phone, headphones or playing a game, remember: heads up, devices down when you cross the tracks.

The full research report is available at

About Union Pacific

Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP). One of America's most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain. The railroad's diversified business mix is classified into its Agricultural Products, Energy, Industrial and Premium business groups. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. Union Pacific provides value to its roughly 10,000 customers by delivering products in a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible manner.


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Media Contact

Kristen South